Why Executives Cause a Serious Security Risk

JCMR_Technology_Executive-caused_Security_BreachWhen an internal security breach happens, it’s frequently the executives that suffer the most. They are held responsible for the company’s results professionally and, in many cases, personally as well. Unfortunately, we have noticed that in many companies, it’s the executives themselves who represent the biggest security risk because of the unique nature of work that leaders at the highest level of a company do. Luckily, these risks can be managed.


The Risks of Executive-Level Computing

Executives typically bring a different set of permissions and a different approach to the way they interact with their company’s IT. This manifests itself in different ways:

  • IT departments frequently give high levels of system access to executives, letting them access the information that they need to do their jobs, but also increasing the damage that a security breach involving their user accounts can do
  • Many executives are able to violate IT policies without sanction because of their senior-status
  • Executives are frequently the first workers at a company to use new BYOD technologies, making it harder to secure the network
  • The nature of the information that executives access makes them targets for hackers
  • Executives are extremely busy with big-picture considerations and are frequently less worried about technological details than other employees

The 24/7 nature of the way that many executives work creates more opportunities for a security breach. They may access company resources from a mobile device that can be easily lost or stolen or from a home computer that can be accessed by an unintended user. Many of these networks have fewer safeguards than the company’s internal network, making a security breach that much more likely to occur than with an employee that works exclusively at an in-office workstation with a wired connection.

Mitigating the Executive-Caused Security Breach

While executive computing is inherently risky, those risks can be managed. The same good security practices that can prevent a security breach elsewhere in the organization are equally important with senior leaders. Whether a company gives its executives access to anti-virus and anti-malware software, helps them set up secure passwords, or sets up a privilege system that gives each worker the right amount of access rather than too little or too much, all of these tools can help mitigate the chance of a security breach and the damage it does.

The Big Picture

The bigger picture of the issue goes right back to the executives, though. Just as an executive position carries great responsibility with regard to a company’s employees, operations and finances, it also carries those duties with regards to the IT infrastructure. Executives that learn about their role in preventing a security breach can frequently be the first and last line of defense for their companies. They can also set an example that the employees under them follow, increasing security levels throughout the organization.

Feel free to download our Complimentary guide regarding Security Awareness Programs for businesses below, and let us know if we can help your company establish or further develop a culture of risk aversion.



About the Author


Jake Kent

Mr. Jake Kent is an Entrepreneur & Business Owner specializing in Information Technology. Jake has founded eight companies, to include Information Technology Consulting & Delivery, Investment Real Estate and Community Banking. Jake brings vision, leadership and a strong work ethic to the CEO role. He leads by example, possessing remarkable skills, experience and expertise across business strategy, operations, financial management and sales & marketing. Jake is a founder of the Matthew-Mint Hill Optimist Club and a Board Member of the Ballantyne IT Professionals Non-profit. Read More..